Saudi Arabia, the Fed, Greta Thunberg: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the strikes on Saudi oil facilities in the strongest terms yet from an American official, calling it “an act of war.”

Mr. Pompeo, after arriving in Saudi Arabia for an emergency meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said that the U.S. was working to build a coalition to deter further attacks. Saudi Arabia showed what it described as debris from the attack site that it attributed to Iran.

2. As expected, the Fed cut interest rates by another quarter point, under pressure from President Trump.

It’s an interesting time: oil shocks, striking autoworkers, political pressure on the Fed. Sound familiar? Our economics reporter sees similarities to the early 1970s — but also a few big differences important to understanding the current world economy, like game-changing American energy production. Above, a gas line in 1973 in New York City.

3. Israel’s election is still too close to call, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure appears to be in danger.

The Blue and White party of the former army chief Benny Gantz seemed to come out ahead of Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party, but by a whisker. If projections hold, Mr. Gantz would be given the first chance to form a government.

A possible juggernaut? The often-overlooked Arab vote will be one of the most important subplots in this election, and could well determine Mr. Netanyahu’s fate, according to our Jerusalem bureau chief.

4. “I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists.”

Greta Thunberg put U.S. lawmakers on notice, testifying before a congressional subcommittee. The 16-year-old climate activist spoke for barely a minute, ending with: “And then I want you to take real action.”

It’s part of her tour of America, capping on Friday with climate protests expected to draw millions of young people around the world. (New York City students even have the O.K. to skip school to participate.) Ms. Thunberg said she’s hoping for a “social tipping point.”


Two other men have died from meth overdoses in his home since 2017, and their families have accused Mr. Buck, pictured above in 2010, of preying upon black gay men.

Prosecutors have charged him in court documents with battery, operating a drug house and administering methamphetamines, and have accused him of being a “violent, dangerous sexual predator.” We’ll be following the case as it unfolds.


6. Nine months into her first term, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has inserted something new into her playbook: a careful political calculus.

She’s swapped the combative brand of politics that swept her into office for a more managed approach, trying to balance her twin roles as a dissident and a member of Congress. Case in point: Her first endorsement of a primary challenger to an incumbent Democrat was hardly the kind of revolutionary act she had arrived promising.

“I think I have more of a context of what it takes to do this job and survive on a day-to-day basis in a culture that is inherently hostile to people like me,” she said in an interview.

7. America’s abortion rate has dropped to its lowest ever.

The Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights, estimated that about 862,000 abortions were performed in 2017, nearly 200,000 fewer than in 2011. The number of procedures per 1,000 women of reproductive age dropped to 13.5, the lowest rate since 1973, when abortion became legal nationwide.

The report suggests that the decline is not a result of the passage of restrictive state laws, but rather the growing use of long-term contraceptive methods, like intrauterine devices and implants now covered under Affordable Care Act insurance.


8. A new library in Queens is one of the finest public buildings New York has built this century, writes our architecture critic, Michael Kimmelman. Why can’t the city create more gems like it?

It cost more than $40 million, took a decade and almost died because of city bureaucracy. But now the Hunters Point library — compact, sculptured and splashed with enormous, eccentric windows — is an instant landmark on the East River waterfront.

“New York deserves an engaged and mindful government that grasps the virtues of good design and what it can do for communities,” Mr. Kimmelman concludes.

In Manhattan, a $110 million plan to build a new pool and skating rink in Central Park represents a major investment in its mostly overlooked northern reaches, far from stratospheric towers of “Billionaires’ Row” shadowing its southern end.


9. “Our glamour changed things.

In her new book, “Supreme Glamour,” Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, above right in 1968, talks about Motown, how she and Diana Ross once sewed their own clothes and how, from the beginning, they deliberately used fashion for empowerment. And yes — the photo-rich book is replete with seed pearls and mushroom pleats.

10. And finally, searching for fall colors? Let me get the llama for you.

Many travelers take leisurely drives to admire the brilliant range of foliage (or at least post about them on Instagram). But why be pinned in a car when you could take a llama for a leafy lunch hike in Vail, Colo.? Or — for only $45,000 — you and a guest could scale giant sequoia and coast redwood trees during peak foliage season. Perhaps a zipline ride in the Catskills, above, is more your thing.

We rounded up five unusual ways to enjoy leaf-peeping season.

Have a vivid night.


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